10 Modern Examples of Plagiarism

Plagiarism has been a contentious issue in various fields, including literature, music, and academic research. Let's dive into some great examples that show the impact of Plagiarism:

Kaavya Viswanathan’s "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" (2006)

Kaavya Viswanathan

Background: Kaavya Viswanathan was a Harvard undergraduate when she secured a two-book deal with Little, Brown and Company, with her debut novel gaining a significant amount of attention.

Accusation: Soon after its release, readers and reporters identified numerous passages in Viswanathan's book that closely resembled segments from Megan McCafferty’s novels.

Aftermath: Viswanathan admitted to unintentionally copying McCafferty's work, claiming that she had internalized the passages after reading them. The publisher ultimately pulled "Opal Mehta" from stores, and Viswanathan's book deal was canceled. We wonder if this could have been avoided if Viswanathan used our Plagiarism Checker.

Jonah Lehrer’s "Imagine: How Creativity Works" (2012)

Jonah Lehrer

Background: Jonah Lehrer, a science journalist, published "Imagine" to considerable acclaim. The book aimed to delve into the science and mystery of creativity.

Accusation: Lehrer was found to have fabricated quotes attributed to Bob Dylan. Moreover, he was also accused of self-plagiarism, recycling his previous work in multiple publications without attribution.

Aftermath: Lehrer resigned from his position at The New Yorker and "Imagine" was pulled from stores. He later acknowledged his mistakes and apologized for them.

Jonah Jayson Blair at The New York Times (2003)

Jonah Jayson

Background: Jayson Blair was a young reporter at The New York Times, covering a range of significant stories.

Accusation: Blair was accused of fabricating and plagiarizing numerous stories. The New York Times conducted an internal review, finding fabrications in at least 36 of the 73 articles Blair had written.

Aftermath: Blair resigned from The New York Times, and the scandal led to the resignation of the paper's two top editors. The incident is one of the most significant journalistic scandals in U.S. history and led to increased scrutiny of editorial processes across the industry.

Shia LaBeouf's "HowardCantour.com" (2013)

Shia LaBeouf

Background: Actor Shia LaBeouf debuted a short film titled "HowardCantour.com" at the Cannes Film Festival and later released it online.

Accusation: The film was strikingly similar to a comic titled "Justin M. Damiano" by Daniel Clowes. Clowes and his fans noticed the blatant similarities in dialogue, theme, and visuals.

Aftermath: LaBeouf apologized and admitted to borrowing from Clowes without proper credit. He also engaged in a series of apologies and actions that some viewed as performance art, further blurring the lines of his intentions.

Jane Goodall’s "Seeds of Hope" (2013)

Jane Goodall

Background: Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall co-authored "Seeds of Hope," which explored the world of plants and their significance in human history.

Accusation: The book was found to contain several passages that were either directly lifted or closely paraphrased from various sources without appropriate attribution.

Aftermath: Goodall apologized for the oversight, attributing it to chaotic note-taking. The book's release was postponed to allow for corrections, and the revised version acknowledged and corrected the plagiarized sections.

Marie-Helene Valente's Novel

Marie-Helene Valente

Background: In 2006, French writer Marie-Helene Valente was poised to release her debut novel.

Accusation: Before publication, it was found that significant portions of her novel closely resembled another French author, Michel Houellebecq's work.

Aftermath: Valente's novel was never published, and she admitted to the act, citing it was out of "admiration" for Houellebecq.

Senator Rand Paul's Speeches and Book (2013)

Senator Rand Paul

Background: S. Senator Rand Paul faced multiple allegations regarding content in his speeches and his book.

Accusation: He was accused of borrowing passages from Wikipedia for speeches about movies and lifting content for his book, "Government Bullies."

Aftermath: Paul acknowledged the errors, suggesting the need for a better vetting process. His office made adjustments to avoid future incidents.

Quentin Rowan's "Assassin of Secrets" (2011)

Background: Quentin Rowan, writing under the pseudonym Q.R. Markham, released a spy novel titled "Assassin of Secrets."

Accusation: Shortly after its release, readers identified numerous passages that had been lifted from various other spy novels.

Aftermath: The book was withdrawn from sale, and Rowan's literary career suffered a severe setback. He later wrote an essay explaining his compulsion to plagiarize, attributing it to a profound insecurity about his own writing abilities.

Monica Crowley's Book and Ph.D. Thesis

Background: Monica Crowley, a political commentator, faced plagiarism allegations concerning her 2012 book "What the (Bleep) Just Happened" and her Ph.D. thesis from Columbia University.

Accusation: CNN identified more than 50 instances of plagiarism in her book. In a separate review, Politico found over a dozen examples of plagiarism in her doctoral thesis.

Aftermath: HarperCollins, her book publisher, stopped selling the digital edition, and Columbia University conducted a review of her thesis.